The Maritime Research Institute Netherlands says a long-awaited doubling of government grants lets it do innovative research for the shipping and yachting sectors for which it lacked money to date.
A year ago, MARIN complained lack of government funding cast a pall over its status as a leader in maritime knowhow and innovation. The government has now responded with a doubling of grants, MARIN Director Bas Buchner tells IBI.
“From now own, MARIN’s public funding will equal 15% of annual turnover. In recent years, it was only 7 or 8%. So, it is a doubling.” In 2018, MARIN will get €6 million in grants, i.e. 15% of its €45 million turnover.
Founded in 1929, MARIN is the world’s largest independent maritime research group. It offers a broad suite of tanks to test powering performance, seakeeping and maneuvering, shallow water effects, cavitation, vibration, noise etc. MARIN also has an active superyacht division.
The funding boost means MARIN can now focus on very edgy research projects with a 10 or 15-year horizon through its “Better Ships, Blue Oceans!” strategy. It focuses on clean and safe maritime transport, sustainable energy generation at sea and even floating solutions for cities and ports facing rising sea levels.
“We can now do things we had no room for until now,” says Buchner. “Like emission-free or autonomous shipping or wind-assisted propulsion for commercial operators,” says Buchner.
Up to 20% of MARIN’s work is in the yachting sector, a growing market for the group.
“Yacht owners are bound to be interested in an emission-free superyacht. We’ll soon have the knowledge to build the Teslas of yachts. Full-electric, no emissions,” adds Buchner. MARIN plans to open a research facility for wind-assisted ship propulsion. That is an area of fuel savings for the commercial sector, but MARIN also sees that as a tool here for megayachts.